Kids don’t always see writing as fun, but rather as a homework-and-school related project. If you encourage your kids to write -for fun at home the way they play sports or do art , and give them help by presenting them with subjects they like, they can come to see writing as a creative and enjoyable outlet. This attitude may very well make them life-long lovers of writing.
Kids like a good scare as much as anyone does. Or at least, they like to jump up behind you and yell “boo!”. Ask a kid to tell you a spooky story or come up with a mystery, and you’re likely to be impressed by his creativity and enthusiasm. Elementary and middle school aged kids can be encourage to write by giving them a topic they like: mystery stories. From creating their own monster to telling us what’s lurking in a haunted house, they will have fun while practicing important writing skills.
To make these activities even more fun for kids, try using Halloween paper or letting the kids write with markers or glitter pens. While you can provide help and encouragement, try to let your child do his or her own thing. These prompts are meant to make your child realize how fun writing can be. Perfect spelling and grammar aren’t necessary.
Writing Project 1: The Spooky House
Have your child describe a walk through a spooky house. Get them describe the outside and the inside, what they see, hear, smell, and feel. If they want, they can tell a story about staying overnight in this spooky locale.
Writing Project 2: The Mystery of the Sound In The Trunk
Have your child make up a story about a car trip where a spooky sound comes from the trunk. Encourage the child to describe the sound and how the people in the car react to hearing it. The story can go forward to describe the actions the passengers take to discover the source of the sound. What is in the trunk? Is it something funny, or scary? And what happens once the trunk is opened? These are all questions your young mystery writers can answer.
Writing Project 3: The Mystery of the Missing Keys
Every family has had their plans delayed by the search for the car keys. Ask your child to write about a young detective looking for his or her mom or dad’s keys. Where do they look? What do they find? Were the cars behind the couch, or in the clutches of the mean old neighbor next door? Ask your child to explore this mystery based on an ordinary, every day occurrence.
Writing Project 4: The Mystery Object
Ask your child to describe an object without ever naming it. Encourage him or her to think about size, shape, color, and maybe even taste or smell. Older kids may be able to come up with riddles or puns to make naming the object even harder for their readers. You can make the activity even more fun by agreeing to read their finished work and try to decipher from it what object they’re describing.
Writing Project 5: The Monster
Monsters can be scary, funny, or something in between, depending on the person who invasions them. Ask your child to create his or her own monster, including it’s name, physical characteristics and personality. Does the monster like to scare people or merely eat their pizza? Older kids may be encouraged to write their story as if they are discovering or interviewing the monster in the first person.
Writing Project 6: The Swamp Thing
What’s more spooky than a walk through a steamy swamp at night? Especially if they’re looking for the “Swamp Thing”. Ask your kids to set the scene: what does it look like, smell like, sound like in the swamp? What do they do when they see it: run and hide, or try to be friend it? Then ask them to describe the swamp creature and what they do when they first meet it: run and hide, try to make friends?
Writing Project 7: The Mysterious Map
Ask your child to pretend he or she has been given a map. It’s up to them, then, to tell what the map says, what directions it gives: what obstacles might be on the map- do they have to cross a shakey bridge, try not to wake up a cranky bear? Ask them to consider who is along on the journey- friends, family, imaginary characters? And what lies at the end of the path: a treasure or trouble?
Spooky mystery writing projects can be fun for Halloween, when the mood is set by the holiday, or on rainy days when gloominess can be transformed to spookiness through your child’s creativity. By giving your kids something fun and exciting to write about, you’re also giving them a chance to see writing as something they can enjoy and make their own, something that’s not scary at all!